Tuesday, September 30, 2008

One-on-One Training

I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing that I was the only one that showed up to CrossFit last night. I knew my sister wouldn't be there, and one other guy has been sick since last week, but I wasn't sure about the few others that make up our small group. The trainer and I waited a few minutes to see if anyone else would show up before getting started.

Warm Up:
200 single unders
20 squats

The workout was similar to what we did last Monday. And as most workouts are, they look easy on paper, but suck as you're doing them.

1 minute for each exercise, then rest 1 minute - 5 rounds
Push ups (modify - on knees)
Sit ups
Burpees (modify - just went out to plank; no push up)
Power Wheel roll outs
Jumping Jacks

I admit to sucking at each workout. I'm still doing push ups on my knees and never got comfortable with my hand positioning. For sit ups, I did them with the bottoms of my feet together and knees out to the side; arms were straight with hands overlapping, and an arm swing that went from no further back than my face (when laying down) to arms reaching as far as I could between my legs. It was a struggle to keep my feet together and to keep my heels pulled into my crotch. Squats I did okay on, but my breathing was "off". I should do a burpee challenge just to get used to doing them. For the life of me, I can't squat down and put my hands right next to my feet before jumping back to plank. And when coming back, I can barely jump my feet up to my hands without turning my left foot out. I do it almost every time. The roll outs were my first time ever doing them, and it didn't look as pretty (or as easy) as it does in infomercials for the "ab wheel", but is a nice core workout when done correctly. I focused more on using my core than attempting to get as far out in the layout position as I could since I know I wouldn't be able to pull the wheel back. And there's no resting on jumping jacks; no bent elbows. Flap the wings from top to bottom and feel it stretching your lats!

I knew from doing a similar workout that it wouldn't be easy. Combining a bunch of bodyweight exercises that I'm not good at and making me do them under the watchful eye of Tony left no room for slouching. With others in the room, it's easier to take a breather if someone else is. But when you're the only one in the room, there's a ping of guilt. It was good motivation and I kept moving from one exercise to the next with little rest; only enough time to try to catch my breath. The little encouragements he gave throughout the workout helped even if my form wasn't the best nor was I knocking out the same amount of reps each round. Sometimes just finishing is enough of an accomplishment.

I had some time until Pilates and worked on some shoulder dislocators and then used the dowel to work on my overhead squat form. I finished the night with an hour of Pilates. I wasn't feeling as tight in the shoulders as I was on Friday when doing short spine and got in some good cardio as well as a nice core workout.

Having a small group to train with is nice. I like to zone out and do my own thing, but there's enough people around to motivate each other. And I don't feel like I'm under a watchful eye, being scrutinized, when I'm the only one there. I'm sure it would be pointed out if I was doing something terribly wrong, but for the most part, it's just nice to receive little reminders about fully extending my arms, sitting back on my heels, or keeping my core tight. It's nothing like a personal trainer, but I get the personal attention I need and appreciate.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Small gains

You have to start from somewhere, and even small gains are nice even if they aren't that noticeable.

I like to do races to see where my fitness/training level is at and use that as a gauge to see where I need to improve - uphills, technical sections, downhills, etc. The same goes with Crossfit workouts. I haven't been doing CF workouts as long as I have been running, but I'm noticing the similarities in both ways of training. Most noticeable is how sore I am when I take off too much time between workouts and much slower I am when I start up again.

Case in point was Wednesday's workout:

3 rounds of
- 50 thrusters (Olympic bar)
- 25 sit ups

I think I got stronger on the last set when I broke the set down into reps of 7. My weakness is usually not going to full extension with my arms, but I had no problem that night. My current struggle is that I'm stalling out half way up during the squat. There's a bit of a pause so it's not one fluid down/up motion. I don't know how to correct it. I know that breaking it down to reps of 7 helped me maintain form. I first tried reps of 10 and my form got all wonky on the last few reps. My shoulders burned throughout, still sore from rugby, so I'd break between reps and do a Phelpsian type 'stretch' by bending over and slapping my arms across my body and hugging myself. Doing that a few times seemed to help. I didn't want to take too long of a break, either. I finished the workout in somewhere around 35-40 minutes. I have nice bruises on my collar bones from the bar and nice and sore shoulders and lats from extending fully. There's still plenty to work on, such as keeping my weight back on my heels, but it's been awhile since I've done any bar work, and it felt good.

Yoga followed right afterwards and I wasn't looking forward to any arm balances or shoulder stands. I modified the pose if I felt any strain on my upper back and/or shoulders and pushed myself far enough to get a good stretch. I didn't have to stretch very far. It seems like any gains I make in yoga, I lose the next week. A case of 1 step forwards; 2 steps back. I know that going on a regular basis will help me improve as will stretching on my own.

I'm also hoping to see improvements in my Crossfit workouts by adding another workout each week. Currently, I'm only doing 2-3 workouts a week, and most of it involves bodyweight movements. The workout schedule for the week is posted Monday morning, so I know what the punishment is going to be. This week, I modified the Tuesday workout of 3 rounds of 1000m row, 21 reps of KB swing, and 12 reps of pull ups to just the KB swings and jumping pull ups. I have a 15lb kettle bell and a door gym, so it was very do able even if it was an easy workout. Even a simple workout gives me a chance to slow things down and focus on form.

I would love to be doing 95lb thrusters, 100lb cleans, and real pull ups and push ups, but I know miracles don't happen overnight - injuries do ;) In yoga, I'd love to be able to do arm balances and something as simple as stepping my foot from Downward Dog up to a lunge, but I don't have that flexibility or balance yet. Every workout and even those rest days will help me improve and get closer to the strength and flexibility that I yearn for.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Oh happy day in Detroit

I'm sure I'm one of many Lions fans who exhaled "FINALLY!" (or something a little more vulgar, yet exuberant) after hearing of the dismissal/firing/letting go/ of President and GM Matt Millen.

And in the next breath came the words "Super Bowl"

We can call dream.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The fly on the wall - aka the Facebook Dilemma

The nest emptied years ago when I was the last of three to leave. In 2000, I finally moved out of my parents house and got my first job out of college. I lived there for only a semester post graduation, but when I moved out, I still came home to do my laundry even though it was a 3 hour drive. Since moving further away (12 hours by car), I've had to find other places to launder my clothes as well as other ways to keep in touch besides weekend road trips home. Email and instant messenger were all the rage and occasionally I'd pick up the phone, but had to make sure I wasn't calling when the Red Wings were playing or I wouldn't be able to talk to my father until intermission.

Not only are "kids these days" staying connected via Facebook, but so are people who weren't born in the 80s, namely those born between 1940-1968 - parents. Okay, okay, so my year range might be off, but you get the point. Call it spying, call it keeping track of, call it what you want, but parents are able to monitor their kids whereabouts, friends, contacts, pictures, posts, and just their kids being kids without even talking with them. Ah - the power of technology! The ability to stay connected with as little interaction as possible!

This is, however, if the child confirms their parent as a "friend".

This is my dilemma.

My mother, who still writes checks to pay for groceries, who didn't get a cordless phone until about 10 years ago, and who didn't get a cell phone until about 3 years ago (fear of brain cancer and 'what to do with it'), has discovered Facebook. And now, I am getting knots in my stomach with the decision of 'do I, or don't I' when it comes to adding her as a friend. A Friend Request has already been sent, but I'm avoiding making eye contact with the notification as I would with a Pop-tart in a vending machine during my period.

Even though I'm in my 30s, I feel like there are things I do or say that I don't want my parents to know about. I think it started as a child when I climbed on top of my elementary school and my mom somehow found out. No one I knew, or who was with me, told her, but she found out. She had her "spies" around town. Sure, I could filter what I say and post, but I think my friends can relate more when my status is "I still can't turn my head left or right after my rugby match 3 days ago".

No need to make my mom worry from a distance. I can filter things over the phone.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Start of the matrix season

Tomorrow marks the start of the rugby season for our D2 side, and I'm really looking forward to my first match!

With a good showing at Pumpkinfest and vs. Washington last week (from what I heard since I did not attend/participate in either due to previous commitments), we have some momentum on our side as we square of versus Norfolk. We're lucky to have such great coaches as well as the ability to work with other coaches. Thursday, our forwards had the opportunity to work with Lance Connolly who is the forwards coach of the U-19 Women's National Team and former forwards coach of the New York women's team. Just hearing him talk about technique for scrums got me fired up. We only had 40 minutes to work with him, but hopefully everyone learned something and will apply this weekend and every practice to follow.

The season lasts about two months, but it's an intense timeframe. We only practice as a team 2x a week, but everyone sprints and works out on their own time outside of practice. Saturday is all about rugby with travel to the pitch, warm up, 80 minutes of rucking, scumming and tackling; sometimes a 30-40 minute friendly followed by a social and sometimes alcohol and some singing, and sometimes too much more alcohol and somehow getting home safely. Waking up the next morning and trying to remember exactly how may 18 wheelers ran you over is always fun until you try to get out of bed to get the ibuprofen. The work attire changes as I start to wear shirts with long sleeves to cover up the bruising on my arms so I don't have to explain how I got them. The occasional fat lip you just deal with.

This is going to be a fun season.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Short races hurt..

..but at least they're over quicker!

I'm more of a "marathon and beyond" kind of runner, but I couldn't pass up a chance to participate in the women's half marathon trail run because it's 1) a trail run, 2) put on by the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club, and 3) so close to home. I didn't run after The Ring last weekend and only did Crossfit on Wednesday and Pilates on Friday as my workouts of the week. Pretty lame, I know, but I was dealing with sore feet, the poison ivy on my legs, and trying to figure out what it was and just wasn't up for working out.

I wanted to use the race as a 'cool down'. I had no plans to run fast whatsoever, and just wanted to enjoy running on runable trails with not as many rocks. The course is basically two out and back sections of the Bull Run Run course. The first is to The Do Loop and back to Fountainhead, while the second half is out to Wolf Run Shoals and back. Sounds easy!

The day was more humid than expected and I didn't plan accordingly and had no salt tabs. I also blew up on the road section that's used to spread out the group. I went out WAY too fast to get ahead of the not-so-seasoned trail runners and paid for it out at the Do Loop. I was fortunate enough to have a fellow ultra runner catch up to me in this section and give me 2 salt tabs (as I did to her back in 2004 (I think) in a 50k when she was in need of salt) and she was also good for conversation - upcoming races and shoes. It's the non-trail equivalent to weather and politics. She went ahead, but I tried to keep her in sight the rest of the way.

I honestly considered dropping out at Fountainhead, around the 7+ mile mark. It was hot, I shouldn't have been out there, my socks were soaked with sweat, my shorts were sticking to me from sweat, and it was just a blah day. I knew the next section from having trained out there a number of times, so I just gutted it out.

I finished pretty middle of the pack, which is a step above the back of the pack I'm used to finishing in for longer trail runs. I've considered doing a few of the Backyard Burn runs in some mild attempt to get faster. It's worth a shot, but there are other ways to get faster without racing every weekend. At this point, this is my last race of the year. My focus is on rugby until November when I switch mental modes to MMT. I hope to get out on the trails just to hike on 'free' weekends, but they will be few and far between until November. Weekday runs will be on the road and I'll keep up with the usual CF workouts in between.

Below is a picture from the start of the race. I wasn't as smiley, or as dry, 2 hrs and 42 minutes later. I don't know why it is, but the brim of my hats always look 2 feet long.

Prerace picture

Photo courtesy of arronspics

Friday, September 12, 2008

An unwelcome surprise

Having spent the last few weekends in the woods either hiking or running trails, cuts and scrapes and bug bites aren't uncommon. I'll go days with razor blade like swatches all over my legs that make me look like I enjoy self mutilation. Not like that, I don't.

Come to find out, a few days after being entrenched in the woods for 28 hours, I have a wonderful case of poison ivy. It really is pretty... all the pus pouring out of my left knee and the scabbing from all the scratching.

What I thought was an irritated scratch mark from all the overgrowth was apparently the beginnings of poison ivy. I didn't think much of it until I couldn't stop scratching it, and then I'd wake up scratching my leg, and then it grew to the size of softball (in diameter). I've had cellulitis before, and thought it might be that, so I thought I'd do a little 'test' to verify. Wednesday night, after cleaning it out and applying OTC meds to it, I drew around the irritation with a felt tip pen. If the infection was outside the mark in the morning, then it was time to see a Doctor. Thurday AM, it was about 1/2" outside, so I decided to go to Urgent Care that night.

My GF had to make a trip up to Beltsville, MD, and we happened to find a walk-in center in the area that takes my insurance, so we planned on stopping by. It was a short wait to be called to have the PA suggest poison ivy and then have the doctor make the diagnosis by saying 'yep - contact dermatitis. poison ivy. why didn't you wear pants?' and writing me a prescription for 'The Cream'. I wanted more than my copays worth of his time, so I proceeded to ask questions about cleaning it out, how long I'll have it, can I pass it on by riding a tractor, will I get big muscles from using The Cream? Okay, so maybe I didn't ask all of those, but I wanted to test his knowledge and see how many big words he could throw at me while I sat there nodding my head like a bobblehead. After a total of 20 minutes, I walked out with my prescription in had and a total of $25.93 spent! (copay and cost of the cream).

The BEST part of all of this is that I have a wedding to attend this weekend. The state of my legs before the poison ivy incident already warranted pants for the affair, but the PI validated them.

This, too, shall pass. I just want a good nights sleep and hope to get rid of it soon.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Ring - Revisited

For a free race, we definitely got our moneys worth, and then some! When it was questionable if aid would be provided at two early locations, it was there, and where we knew it would be, the volunteers when above and beyond to make sure we were taken care of. Instead of a 'report' from mile to mile, I'll break it up by events and other things that might be TMI or WTF or of no importance whatsoever except for me to look back on and learn from. It's still long, so if you want the condensed version, here it is: I covered 71 miles of the Massanutten Trails in 28:18. My feet were sore, I ate a lot, I saw weird things, and it rained in the morning. If you want more details, continue on.

Is it time to get up yet?

We stayed at the Super 8 in Front Royal – me, my GF, and her dog – right next to the ice machine and the front desk on the front floor. Bad location. The dog barked at just about everything throughout the night, which prompted me to semi wake up and ask "is it time to get up yet?" We hoped that leaving the TV on would be enough background noise to distract him, but it wasn't. My GF ended up sleeping with dog treats in her hands, so with every bark from the dog, a hand would open and he would get a treat to be quiet. Who has who trained??? Pavlov would be so proud. Needless to say, we were all pretty tired.


A free race like this wouldn't happen without wonderful, selfless volunteers who get up early and stay up late and until the wee hours to make sure we are well fed – banana bread, soup, grilled cheese sandwiches, Pringles, watermelon, etc. I think I ingested more calories than I burned. I felt so pampered that I almost didn't want to leave the Edinburg aid station at mile 48.7. Actually, my feet hurt so much that I contemplated dropping, but trudged on another 8.2 miles to Woodstock and felt well enough to finish.


A mix of GU and a bottle of CarboPro while on the trail until I got to Edinburg. At the aid stations, I dined on Ensure, Pringles, watermelon, grilled cheese, cookies, Gatorade, Coke, minestrone soup, and I'm sure other stuff I'm forgetting. The last 8 miles, though, I didn't eat or drink much. At that point I was ready to be done, and my focus was on finishing.


The weather was great the entire time. It was in the mid 70s with a 90% humidity at 6am and slightly drizzling. Hanna was hanging around all morning, and then showed her true self around 9am. She didn't let up until about 1:30pm. The rain felt nice and kept the humidity in check. It was heavier and windier at times, but I never felt cold or put on a rain jacket. At night, I put on a loose long sleeve top, but took it off when I got hot and put it back on when sitting at the aid station. I kept it on when I left Woodstock Tower (mile 56.9) around 5:30am as the temps seemed to have really dropped by then. I took it off again around 9am when the sun warmed everything up nicely.


We packed like we were going on a week long camping trip, but knew we'd end up needing something if we didn't bring it, so we brought it. And then some. I wear triathlon shorts under a pair of loose REI trail shorts (discontinued, to my dismay) that have 2 good size zip pockets on the hip for GU's, iPod shuffle, Succeed tabs, etc. I've been wearing a tighter black shirt (REI or Under Armour) under a loose fitting wicking shirt. It keeps the outer shirt from sticking to me due to sweat or rain and the inner shirt keeps my core warm. I also started with my 3L Camelbak, a wicking hat, Smartwool socks, and my Vasque Velocity shoes. At mile 25, when the rain stopped, I switched socks and shoes (Salomon XAE3 or something like that, which are Gore-Tex) and to my 2L Nathan pack. I changed both shirts at mile 34.3 knowing it would get cooler/dark soon, and donned a Buff instead of the cap. I was getting chilled at the next aid station and left with a long sleeve top, but took it off at the top of Short Mountain and put it back on when I got to Edinburg where I also changed back to Vasque’s and grabbed the iPod classic since the shuffle finally died. The shirt process repeated until I left Powell's Fort as did relubbing my feet.

My feet

I had the same sensitivity problems I had at MMT. If the run was any longer I probably would've dropped out. After MMT, the hardness that built up on the balls and heels of my feet peeled off over the course of a month. My feet got soft, so the toughness had to be built up again. They didn't really bother me until going over Short Mountain (mile 40-48), which was one of the few sections I didn't cover the weekends leading up to the race. I'm going to lose the toenail of my second toe on each foot in the next few months, too, I have a blood blister on the inside of my right heel, and one on the inside of my right big toenail. I can barely point/curl my toes and they are still so puffy that you can't see any veins or tendons. Crocs are comfy, but not suitable for work, so I have to stick to my stinky slides until the swelling goes down.


Early on, I saw two box turtles in separate sections of the trail. Both times they scared me and I jumped back, or did an awkward jump over it. I talked to them in lol speak with a basic greeting of 'Oh hai! before continuing on with baby talk. I have no idea why. It's like shouting or talking slowly to someone who doesn't speak English or someone who is deaf/hard of hearing. Why?? At dusk I saw two deer on Kerns Mtn. and a skunk crossed about 20 ft in front of me on Short Mountain. "Keep moving, big guy," I said as he slowly crossed the trail. I was also one of a dozen or so people stung by yellow jackets while crossing Kerns Mountain. I only got hit twice – back of the right calf, and the left side of my middle back, which I thought was chafing from my bra and HRM strap. I think a yellow jacket attack brings out the screaming, arm-flailing little girl in all of us. Fortunately I had no bear sightings, but I did stare at some sticks long enough that they became snakes.

Things you see that aren't there

Your mind plays tricks on you in the dark and when you’re tired. Here are a few things I "saw" on the trail and what they really were.

A Tarantula – this was a small fern-like plant. When I shined my handheld light on it, it looked like it was crawling towards me as I got closer. Yes, I jumped over it.

Mary in a bathtub - this was a rock, but I SWEAR it was MiaB. I even slowly walked up to it until I had an 'oh' moment and realized what it was.

A man hiding behind a tree waiting to scare me – 'he' did scare me, but it was just a tree that had fallen just so that it looked like someone hiding behind a tree. That one really spooked me.

An alligator, cat, and dogs – all were trees that were angled just right

Random 'shadow people' in the woods – YOU go into the spooky woods by yourself with a flashlight and headlamp and tell me what you see; especially after reports of other people having seen bears. It was just 'tree shadows', but still spooky. You'd think it would make me run faster. *sigh*

These are all I could remember, but it gets pretty tiring out there especially when you're in the back of the small pack of runners. I got a little disoriented while crossing Kerns Mtn on my way to Jawbone when it first got dark. I tried to move quickly here having never been on Kerns at night, nor was I very familiar with it in the daytime, so it was difficult at times to find my way. I moved much slower than I had wanted to, but covered Jawbone down to Moreland in good time. When climbing out of Edinburg, I got disoriented at the top. For a split second, I wasn't sure if I was going in the right direction. I was at the top, or so I thought, but it didn't look familiar. I couldn't see any town lights to my right or further into the woods to my left, which would've been a sign that I was going in the right direction. Time wise, I made it to the 'top' okay, but crept along for 15-20 minutes until I got my bearings and realized that I was going in the correct direction and hadn't turned around at all as I had thought. I had been the slow-poke last runner all day and there was no one behind me, nor was there a 'trail sweep' to make sure everyone made it to the next aid station in time, so I was on my own.

The End

From the VHTRC website:
The Ring is a typical Fat Ass run in that there are no entry fees, no awards, and no t-shirts. Fat Ass entrants are generally admonished that there will also be no wimps and no whiners. In this instance, just choosing to start proves you are not a wimp, and EVERYONE whines at the end (and whines for years to come, so when it gets to be your turn to whine about how badly the trail from Signal Knob to the finish sucks, try to be at least a little bit creative.

The section from Signal Knob to the Meneka Trail (1/2 a mile) truly sucks. Your feet are so tender and there is no ground to step on; only sharp rocks. The next couple of miles to the Buzzard Rock Overlook are one long rockbed after another. Make the downward turn from the overlook and you are 'homeward bound.' Except Sunday was a beautiful, sunny morning and lots of people are out for a leisurely hike. I had a number of people ask if I was okay when I limped by. I just hoped I didn't smell too bad after 28 hours on the trail. I crossed the small wooden bridge to the parking lot where my GF's dog announced my arrival to the handful of people still hanging around. I promptly sat down.

Completing The Ring was a great experience and I'm glad I finished. Yes, there was a time when I wanted to drop and my GF wanted me to drop, but I pressed on. If it were a 100-miler, though, I 100% would've stopped at the 70 mile mark. Heck, I probably would've missed most of the aid station cut offs. I really need to work on my foot sensitivity issues. If that means running back and forth across Short Mountain to toughen them up, then so be it. I'll probably try a number of different shoes and sock combinations until I get something right, but I'm sure something else will come up.

I will be out there again in February to do the run in the reverse direction. I'm sure my time will be different, but I hope to have a more positive experience. However, these are the Massanutten Trails and anything can happen.

Friday, September 05, 2008

It's just a little wind and rain..

This projected path of Hanna (as of 2:40pm) could make things interesting this weekend. So far, I know that The North Face Endurance Challenge and The Patriots Half Ironman were cancelled. Other events in the area are hoping to go on and trying to adjust start times to work around when Hanna will strike.

My big event this weekend, The Ring, is still on!

This event will go on – if it does turn out to be somewhat wet and windy, it will just be that much more of an epic achievement for you all to run and finish in those conditions!

Per the AP, "As of 2 p.m. EDT Friday, Hanna had maximum sustained winds near 70 mph.. Some spots could see up to 10 inches of rain, and forecasters warned of the potential for flash flooding in the northern mid-Atlantic states.."

Somewhat wet and windy.. exactly.

So what am I doing to prepare for a wet and windy run? Well, dry clothes for afterwards, a few more changes of socks, and a couple rain coats. I'm hoping the rain cuts down the humidity and will be happy for fewer mosquitoes. I'm sure my feet will be trashed from getting so wet... oh well.

I will be happy to (hopefully!) finish in whatever weather conditions happen between 7am Saturday and.. oh, 3pm(?) on Sunday. I have no idea when I'll finish, and looking at past reports and finish times isn't much help. The best thing I can do is to keep moving.

Would requesting a tailwind be too much to ask of Hanna?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Post vacation fatigue

I seem to be more tired when I get back from vacation even though I slept a lot every day. Our first day in New Hampshire was a recovery day since we got in on Saturday around 8pm. We left DC a little after 5am (up between 3:30-4am) and stopped in Massachusetts to see some friends of mine just outside of Boston. After dinner, we completed the drive up to the seacoast. Along the way, we had numerous stops to let the dog out to pee and and one point (early on) so that we could nap. We were entertained with the audiobook (I prefer to call it a 'book on tape' even though it's a CD) "Twilight" throughout the trip. Once in NH, we didn't do much on Saturday except unpack, set up the bed, and use it.

I knew my GF's mom woke up at 4am and then got up at 4:30am, but I wasn't really expecting it. Well, what I wasn't expecting was the dog to get all excited to hear that she was up and want to greet her. The next thing I know the sun is shining through the blinds and my GF announcing it's a lovely 6:30am.


I go back to bed until 8am. We get up and do some stuff, but nothing of importance since I can't remember any of it, and go back to bed at 10am until noon. It felt like it should be 3pm. We finally get up and take the dog on 4.5 mile walk. The sun was high and he's wiped out. Even though the humidity is a lot lower in NH, he didn't like the high 70s heat. We go out for lunch with her parents (blueberry pancakes) before gathering up the dog and heading up to see a friend of my GF's and her two kids.

I'll say it now, I suck at Wii. I knew I'd lose to an 8 yr old in boxing when he told me upfront "Just to let you know, I'm pretty good at this." I should've just set the controller down right there and walked away, but had to prove that years of watching friends play "Mike Tyson's Knockout" on Nintendo wasn't enough to help me that night. Later I was able to beat my GF in tennis to set the record straight of who the boss is in our household..

Labor Day was a planned hike of Mt. Willard up in the White Mountains. It was a long day as we left around 7am to pick up her sister and nieces an hour away before heading up north. Missing our exit on the Kancamagus Highway just allowed us to take another route to our destination. I would say it was the scenic route, but any road in that area is scenic even though it was hard to see from the 3rd row of the Isuzu Avenger where I shared a seat with the dog. The hike didn't go as planned as her sister and mom turned around about half way up, so my GF and I continued to the top with her nieces and the dog where we snacked on PBJ's. They were pretty proud of themselves for having made it and enjoyed the view from the top. The trip down was a little quicker, but still slower than what I'm used to going. We did stop frequently so they could have water, which my GF and I were carrying for them. We each had a Camelbak that holds a 3L bladder, plus we each had two 24oz bottles, and she had an additional 70oz bladder in her pack just in case. At one point, she was giving her 4-year old niece a piggy back ride while I had my pack on, her pack on my front, and the dog attached to my waist. Hard to say who got the raw end of the deal. ;)

We stopped to see some waterfalls and drove the Kancamagus Highway back to 93 to head home. I had moved up to the 2nd row since the 11 year old wanted to be with the dog (and away from her sister). I was reconsidering this decision since she and the dog slept and the rest of us were left playing "I Spy" with the 4 year old. We were trying anything to get her to "rest" and almost went as far as playing "Who can be quietest the longest". We found out the next day that she finally hit the 'off' switch at 10:30pm. I wish I had that kind of energy.

Tuesday was all about shopping and sightseeing. We started off with brunch at The Friendly Toast before walking around Portsmouth for a bit and then heading up to Maine. My GF wasn't feeling well so we parked the car so she could nap and I listened to more of "Twilight". When she was feeling better, we sat on a bench across from the Nubble Lighthouse in York Beach, ME. It was nice to people watch as well as to just sit quietly.

We then headed over to Stonewall Kitchen for some jam. I got my mom a Christmas present from there, but didn't want to spend too much as we were next going to Kittery Trading Post as well as the Outlets in Kittery. All in all, for the day I picked up a few items at Banana Republic, Under Armour, a couple Sporthill hats, running shorts, and trail running shoes. I'm trying to get away from my Vasque Velocity's that I've been wearing for over 5 years, so we'll see how these new ones work out. I might wear then for a few miles of The Ring this weekend, but who knows.

We were too tired to do much packing that night and were up at 5am Wednesday. I did a quick run while she walked the dog and then we started packing after showers. On the road around 8:30-9am was a little later than anticipated, stopped a lot for doggie breaks and a nap, but we got into DC a little before 7pm with no major traffic problems. We finished "Twilight" and started "New Moon". With about 12 more hours to go, I don't know if we'll be finishing it anytime soon. Unpacking included putting the food away and throwing the bags of dirty laundry into the basement. We chilled and watch some recorded TV before hitting the sack much later than planned.

My internal clock is still set to vacation time as I never heard the alarm go off this morning, nor do I recall it being turned off, and I woke up at 7:30am.. absolutely missing my run. Oops. I was in the office only a few minutes past 8am, which is par for me, but it has been a less than productive day.

Who knows when I'll get back on schedule with a race this weekend and a planned day off (to recover from said race) on Monday. I've been away from Crossfit since last Wednesday and it sure feels like it.

I need a day off to recover from my vacation.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Some downtime in NH

Not much time to post as I'm on vacation in NH and the wireless connection is spotty, but I'm just not online as much, either. Been visiting my GF's friends and family mostly and doing things without much of a plan in mind. Yesterday we took her nieces (11 and 4 year old) on a 5k hike of Mt. Willard. They were troopers and loved it. Here's a view from the top. It was a long 3hr drive home and we were tired, but the 4 yr old had no 'off' button. We were wiped out and needed some quiet time, but were glad they enjoyed it.

More to come later.